University subsidies


anine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

We hope that the promised increases in subsidies for students and universities will help to restore order and put tertiary educational institutions to work again.

Unfortunately, the students are impatient, and the knowledge that university subsidies are to increase by 10.9 percent a year and student subsidies by 18.5 percent a year may not be enough.

A better approach might have been a “raid” on the accumulated funds in the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAS), which are performing well below par.

It is clear we will have to brace ourselves for tax increases next year.

The ideal method would be an increase in VAT, but there would be strong objections from unions.

The chamber is pleased to see Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan recognised low confidence as an issue that was constraining private-sector investment, but he was still keen for private-sector partnerships in infrastructure developments.

We are encouraged that the government plans to address legislative and regulatory uncertainties that hold back investment in mining, agriculture and key technology sectors as well as essential labour market reforms.

We have been disappointed before, but we hope the urgency of our credit-rating problems will see fresh efforts to remove these impediments to economic growth.